This Lada Priora was the 27 millionth car produced by Russia's AvtoVaz (photo: dpa)

Russia – a rare jewel for car makers

The Lada Classic, little changed for 40 years, provided the overriding image of the Russian car industry in the Soviet era. Now Western companies are investing heavily in Russian plants and as domestic demand rockets, the nation’s car market is set to become Europe’s largest. Meanwhile Lada is planning to export its Granta model, developed with Renault, to countries including Germany and France.

THE CAR industry is already an important part of the Russian economy and has potentially good times ahead.

It employs around 600,000 people, one per cent of the country's labour force,

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Professor Stefan Hedlund
Renault has clearly been the driving force. In 2008, it paid US$1 billion for a 25 per cent stake in AvtoVaz, which after the 2009 economic crisis could be saved only by a government bailout
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